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Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 17 January 2019


Enjoy the Show and the Snow

Wet and stormy week ahead for all of California; Dipole pattern to follow,
Weather West, January 13, 2019.


Recap of the Season, so far.

View of the Series of Storms we just experienced-are experiencing.

Analysis of Saturated Soils-Wildfire Mud flow Dangers



Medium-to-Long Forecast

“Unusually strong consensus regarding development of “Warm West/Cool East” pattern”

Blocking Ridge Returns
“...there is rather striking multi-model ensemble agreement (dare I say unanimity?) that a high-amplitude blocking pattern will develop across much of the Northern Hemisphere during the second half of January, and perhaps persisting for weeks (at least through mid-February).”

The Diepole Pattern
A Prolonged Warm/Dry period for the Foreseeable Future
“This pattern is associated with the simultaneous occurrence of unusually warm, dry, and quiescent weather across California and much of the West Coast and unusually cold, often stormy weather from the Midwest to the Eastern Seaboard. In this case, it does appear that California will rapidly dry out after this week’s storms and will enter a prolonged warm/dry period for the foreseeable future thereafter…so let’s keep our fingers crossed for as much moisture as possible this week.”

Because of the Warming & Breakdown of the Polar Vortex
“...a fairly clear cause of the consensus: the recent stratospheric sudden warming (SSW) event, followed by a breakdown of the stratospheric polar vortex, is now slowly beginning to “couple” with the troposphere below (i.e., the layer where all our weather happens). As this occurs, lobes of cold polar air become displaced to lower latitudes and induce a very wavy pattern in the jet stream–setting up persistent ridges (blocks) and downstream troughs in preferred locations.”


Weather West

FALL 2018

Record summer heat across much of state retreats; some deeper thoughts on El Niño,
Sept, 2018.



Bottom Line

Winter Wonderland

We’ve finally got enough snow on the Crest & Flanks to celebrate, “Winter Wonderland,” conditions, when a full (or even massive), fresh Winter Snow Pack graces the Sierra Crest. This was a regular Winter event during my youth, but has become increasingly rarer and rarer as this new century ages. Here’s how things look to me, now:

3 more days of storms & storm potential,

3-5 days for snow compression, depending on conditions, then…

Time to Explore the snow covered High Sierra.

Winter Camping as we climb out of the Southern Tahoe Basin.
Winter Camping as we climb out of the Southern Tahoe Basin. Forum: Snow Tripping....

After this next shot of stormy moisture crosses the West Coast of the USA, the aberrations in our atmosphere that have been warming-up and slowing down the spin of the Polar Vortex over the past few Winters are again setting up conditions, consisting of a slowing Polar Vortex sliding off the top of the Earth, conditions favoring the creation of a persistent blocking ridge over the West Coast of the US, while the East Coast is likely to directly experience the migration of this frigid Arctic Air to the South when the Polar Vortex splits up, or it slows down enough to slide off the top of the planet (!), just like it did last year, creating conditions that transported frigid Arctic Air all the way down to Georgia.

Those conditions are setting up again this year, as they did during last year’s Winter.


From the
Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide





Global Warming Freak Show Weather
This is exactly how Global Warming’s destruction of traditional Arctic weather patterns, in this case altering the behavior of the Polar Vortex, is causing much colder Wintertime temps in some places, while ending Winter precipitation in others.

Yes Virginia, the effects of Global Warming on the Arctic Atmosphere can cause it to channel its cold Winter airs to places that don’t, "normally," get cold in the Winter, without the influences of Global Warming. Sometimes life (and its weather) are counterintuitive, other times life itself is downright contradictory
It is these dynamic contradictions that make life interesting, especially when they are no longer, “balanced contradictions,” as our seasons once were, before, “we grew too big for our britches,” so to speak.

What Happens when You Grow Too Big for your Britches? The Arctic Vortex Weakens!

Polar Vortex Splits Under Warming Stratosphere

Arctic Roots of Increasing Extreme Weather

Warm Arctic Chills Dixie? Warming Arctic Channels Frigid Air South

Nonetheless, we’ve again got, “Winter Wonderland,” conditions in the Sierra, and the atmospheric news about Polar Vortex behavior indicates we’re going to get some big breaks in the weather to explore and enjoy our Winter Wonderland.

The snow will compress a few days after the last storms roll through, and if the observations of the Polar Vortex breaking down play out, we will begin to see the big Highs that characterize big blocking ridges begin to build-in as this next bout of precipitation pass, meaning we can get extended breaks in the weather allowing deeper access to this Wonderful Winter Wonderland that Nature’s once again packed into the Sierra.

Jan 22, 2019

Why cold weather doesn’t mean climate change is fake,
Nat Geo, January 23, 2019.



The High Sierra Weather Page


Trail News Forum
Winter & Spring of 2019



January 2019 Trail News





News Of Nature


Climate Destruction News



Bee News

Bear News

Spider Forum

Bird News

Small Mammals

Frogs and Reptiles

Butterfly News


Health and Fitness

Mountain Safety

Mosquito News

Female Trail

High Sierra History


Astro-Phys, Space, & Science News

High Sierra Geology News

Fish & Water News







 Winter, 2019, weather, analysis, forecast, dipole, polar vortex, blocking ridge


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